ICRA 2017
Conference paper

Semantic-level decentralized multi-robot decision-making using probabilistic macro-observations

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Robust environment perception is essential for decision-making on robots operating in complex domains. Intelligent task execution requires principled treatment of uncertainty sources in a robot's observation model. This is important not only for low-level observations (e.g., accelerom-eter data), but also for high-level observations such as semantic object labels. This paper formalizes the concept of macro-observations in Decentralized Partially Observable Semi-Markov Decision Processes (Dec-POSMDPs), allowing scalable semantic-level multi-robot decision making. A hierarchical Bayesian approach is used to model noise statistics of low-level classifier outputs, while simultaneously allowing sharing of domain noise characteristics between classes. Classification accuracy of the proposed macro-observation scheme, called Hierarchical Bayesian Noise Inference (HBNI), is shown to exceed existing methods. The macro-observation scheme is then integrated into a Dec-POSMDP planner, with hardware experiments running onboard a team of dynamic quadrotors in a challenging domain where noise-agnostic filtering fails. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a real-time, convolutional neural net-based classification framework running fully onboard a team of quadrotors in a multi-robot decision-making domain.